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this is part of our books in beyond author series. it features authors and books of special interest to the library of congress, and the connection today is very obvious. we are filming this four, filming it for future presentation on the library's web site and we are also joined by c-span today. all things electronic should be turned off, alright, so we can get the best possible broadcast that we can. we also will have a question and answer period george the end of the program, and we hope that you do participate and by participating though you are so are giving us your permission to use your image in your words as part of the question and answer
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exchange. a new feature for the center for the book is a center for the book's facebook, books and beyond book club and it is on facebook. this is just arctic and you can learn more about the forthcoming talks actually see webcast jabbar talks and even for today's book, exchange ideas and comments about it. there is a sheet as you go out explaining the new facebook books in beyond book club. also there is a schedule of the forthcoming talks in our series. i wish to thank the geography of map division for co-sponsoring and help arrange this wonderful run of talks we are on about the waldseemuller map and especially of like to thank john hill is here, the chief in john hasler who is a reference specialist who is going to introduce our speaker, toby.
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john hassler. let's give john a hand. [applause] >> thank you john and thank everyone for coming. about four years ago i gave a lecture on the waldseemuller map and the young gentleman can up to me after the talking said that he was interested in the map. and this is a pretty common occurrence after you talk on the waldseemuller map. it is a popular subject. there's lots of interest in it. there have been now a total of four books written about the map over the last four years. and toby came up and said he was interested in doing an article and maybe a book and it was a typical thing that usually you never get in contact back from a person who says that any conference, but toby e-mailed me and what ensued was basically an almost daily correspondence between us it seemed, about questions relating to this map. the questions involved. they started out very
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simplistic, the basic sources, what to read and over the course of a year, a year-and-a-half the questions began to ramp up rather quickly. toby's question became complex enough that in the end i was struggling to answer them, and i think he has incorporated into this book the whole story, a story that has really never been told before in the completeness that this book presents it in. the other three books on the subject seymor schwartz's, peter dixon who is also in the audience and my book are much more specialized and are much more focused on specific issues whereas toby's really does agrast the whole story. toby is an editor, or was an editor for "the atlantic monthly." he is a correspondent for the boston globe. he has written in the american scholar and many other magazines, and i give you toby lester.
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[applause] >> thanks john and thanks to everybody for coming. i have to say before the start that i really couldn't have written this book without john hassler's help in particular. i don't think there's anybody in the world that knows more about the map in the context in which it was made then john and i also could have done it without johnnie bair's help in the geography in map division. jot amazingly didn't laugh me out of the room when i wanted in three or four years ago and told them i didn't know anything about the map, didn't know anything about the history of cartography but i want to write a book about both of them. instead i remember distinctly we had a free-wheeling 45 minutes long conversation that made me feel like maybe i could do this. so, thank you both. i am really, really grateful. also i feel i have to say i'm grateful just for the existence of the library of congress. it may be is a little silly to say it but it is an amazing
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place. i had never used the library in any kind of serious way before this book and i came away from the experience kind of an off. in off with the library has in its collection obviously but also in of the people who are here in charge of all of the collections. everybody to a person who had any reason to had anything to do with what amazingly informed that one out of their way to help me and not just give me the minimum i was looking for but in fact to encourage me to look into other things, tell me about researchers a didn't know in the library so that almost-- also made this book more than it originally would have been. i'm not sure i have written a book that john or john whatever written for this series but it is definitely better off for their help. what i thought i would do today rather than a straightforward book top is give a slide show an illustrated guide to the baltimore map itself but also a guide to a number of the
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developments in the early mapping of the world that came together in this map and that made, that gave us a picture of the world roughly as we know it today. so i'm going to try to give you the micro-story of this one map but in a macrostory as well of how over the course of centuries really europeans gradually pieced together the picture of the world that we most often think of today. qualifier, this is a eurocentric story. it is a eurocentric melt. i have to say that because any time you use the word discover, you almost have to go like this because europeans of course didn't discover the new world and didn't discover other parts of the new world but i tried in this book to immerse myself in readers in this eurocentric cartier graphic frame of mind, so keep that in mind as we have the conversation going.
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this, if you don't know it already is the baltimore map. the original is on display at jefferson building in the great hall. if you haven't been over there to see it already i strongly strongly urge you to go do it. there's nothing like face time with the real thing. there's only one copy that survives in the world. this is one. it is probably about that big. is 8 feet by four and a half feet so that is a reasonable facsimile of the real thing. it might even be a little bit bigger. please go over there at some point. as john and john bowe suggested i didn't know anything about this map or the history of cartography when i started. in 2003 when i was an editor and writer at the atlantic and boston opening my milliken across a press release from the library announcing for $10 million a but what it called americans for certification, the map the gave america its name. vechten million dollars was the most diverse finn on anything.
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it was almost $2 million more than had recently been paid for an original copy of the declaration of independence and that kind of got my attention. i had never heard of the map, had never seen a map but the library seemed to think it was the most valuable piece in the market seemed to think was more than the original copy of the declaration of independence, so i wanted to find out more and at this point i was thinking maybe i would do a short piece for the clint. so i did some research and got the basics of the story pretty quickly. early in the 1500's in the eastern part of france there was a small group of scholars. among them map maker martin waldseemuller and they came across-- y emir guo vespucci in the chart lines of the new world and they decided that what they were reading about in saying on these charts was not a part of asia as most people had assumed
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it was but in fact was a new continent. people traditionally have thought of the world as having three parts, europe asia and africa. balta mardis cully decided this was a fourth part of the world, hence the title of the book. because they had made that decision that it seemed to represent the fourth part of the world that needed a name, just like the other conmen said name and the cam up with the name new america in honor of vespucci. it is a great story. there's a lot more of the story and i will get into it a bit later but i learned pretty quickly that it also is significant for a lot of other reasons not just for native americans. if you look on the left there, that is the new world, south america and with north america above it, this is really the first map to show north and south america unambiguously surrounded by water, not as some undefined part of asia or some undefined place that really is
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now identified at all. because it shows north and south america surrounded by water is the first map to show the existence of the pacific ocean and this is something of a mystery because europeans are not supposed with known about the pacific ocean until 1513 when balboa caught sight of it from a mountaintop. so that is something that brings a lot of people back to the map and something peter has written about extensively. is not something i could go on a whole lot in the book because i felt the mystery is almost more fun to leave as a mystery than to try to resolve but it is a great part of the story. it is not the only part of the story. there is more that is very significant about the map. if you look at africa for example this is one of the very first printed maps to show the full coastlines of africa. africa had only been circumnavigated by the portuguese fully in 1947, and maps were only beginning to show all of this. the frame at the bottom of the
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map here is broken. it would have been pretty easy to push the frame down a little bit. i think the point is pretty clear this is a break with tradition. this is a new knowledge and exciting. possibly more exciting than the stuff on the left. people tend to forget that this is a great discovery because it means to conceal from europe around africa into the indian ocean and beyond. even beyond that facto is all 360 degrees of longitude. it is one of the very first to do that as well. matz prior to this one had tended to lead a certain portion of the globe and matt comecon to the implied on the back of the map as it were, and the implication was generally that it was kind of on chartered oceanic space and you didn't really need to try to depict it. here is one of the very first pictures of the world laid out in a pfohl three eddin 60 degrees and what we are saying therefore is a picture of the world roughly as we know it
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today. it is obviously not fully correct. it is distorted and full of misconceptions and deliberately odd juxtapositions but it is basically a vision of the world that we have been refining ever sense and that to me was really what struck me. this is not just a mouth announcing the existence of the new world. it is a map declaring hey we can now see the whole world for a first time. so great story. i thought this would be a great article and i put some clippings of an article idea bolder that i captain then i got sidetracked by the things for a couple of years. only in 2005 when word came down that the atlantic was going to be moved from boston to washington did i start to try to think about the map again and i did because i wanted to make a living in boston and not move to washington. [laughter] excuse me. and when i went back to my article idf bolder had a brilliant idea. i would write a little book
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about the making of this map and it would come out in 2007 timed perfectly to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the naming of america and i barely made it to 2009. [laughter] so, what happened? why did it take me longer than expected? the simple answer is i just got sucked in and i thought when i came to the map that i was going to be focusing on the new world and particularly the naming of america. very quickly as jones suggested, i started just seeing more and more in the map been feeling as though there was an opportunity to do much more comprehensive book that would survey the map as a whole, and could be an excuse for doing a kind of geographical and intellectual adventure story with the map kind of as the backdrop. so, what struck me most was that it wasn't just one world that is
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depicted here. it is actually many worlds and if you just change your perspective this were that it is kind of like a kaleidoscope in can tease out different stories, different collisions of ideas, different mysteries as well and i want to do something that was sort of complex enough that it would do the math in full justice. even if you have never seen this map before or don't know maps of this period, it is pretty easy i thank to see what we are looking at. the top, it wasn't necessarily always the case. there were plenty of maps that-- over here is the east and this is what we now call the pacific. this is china, india, central asia, the middle east, europe appear and this is the most famous part of the map, the
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north america lapeer, the gulf of mexico here and the island of the caribbean. this is the region columbus explored and his long thin line is self america. the dominant visual impression you get from looking at the new world is this giant southern place and that is really what was making an impression on the europeans in the early days of discovery. it wasn't so much the west and this of the new world. it was obviously-- columbus pioneered a new route across the atlantic but thought he had reached asia so he and just about everybody thought he confirmed old geographical ideas. south america,, emir eggo vespucci road about in the late 14 90's and 1400's extended farther to the south and to part of the globe the people tended to think there wasn't any
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landing, and that made a big impression and we will get back to that in a minute. would dominates the map then is the southern part and that is why the cartographer put the word america on the southern kant ned along the shores of america-- amerigo vespucci sale upon. i will zero in on it. it is part in probably what today who would be considered brazil. that is the first use of the word. these guys need the name up and then put it on the map. as i said though there is much much more to the map than just a depiction of the new world and want to do a book for the general reader, for someone who like me who was reasonably well informed that really didn't know about the map or the history of world mapping would read and learn as much as possible from and i wanted to come up with a way of making it kind of a gripping narrative read. i didn't want to be a survey of scholarship.
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i didn't want it to be strictly cartographical steady so i try to bring in as many people and as many ideas as many different stories as possible. the way i came up with organizing all that is to use the map as the guide and as the backdrop. the book is organized into chapters that move all over the map. each chapter starts with a little detail from part of the map and starts in the 1200's and angwin at the very western edges of the known world at the time and gradually moved across the map through geography and through history as europeans gradually make their way out to central asia and into china, comes back to europe and moves down along the coast of africa and eventually moves across the atlantic and over to the new world. the kind of cheesy idea i had at the beginning of each chapter was that each of these little details from the map would be like what you have in some of the disney cartoons where you see prince charming on a course
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in just a static picture in the camera zooms in and he is gilpin around. so that is the idea i wanted to create for each chapter. u7 on one part of the map and the stories would come to life. when you look at it that way, what it allows is the kind of epic saga rather than just the story of how this map in particular was made. a instead becomes this kind of grand story of how merchants and religious figures and scholarly thinkers and others often accidentally are gradually learning about the world, bringing this back to home, feeding it into the others who then put it on their maps and over time, you get to, it is almost like rubbing going. you start to see edges and you don't know what they are in gradually the whole thing comes into relieve the and you can see a picture of the whole. that is also the effect in the
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book. i hope when you are reading the book you get the feeling that you are moving along with these people trying to figure out what the world looks like and you don't know. it is easy now to know what the world looks like and to make fun of these often weird looking maps for being so wrong, but when you really don't know, they are all sorts of gases that are necessarily the logical. so, i thought to start with we would back way up and put the map into almost cosmic context, which is something people who are looking at this map might will let them. the title of the map is a universal cosmography. that is a signal to the wars of the map that is not just a picture of the world and isolation the way my look at a map today. is a picture of the world in its natural place at the center and of the cosmos as it had been imagined since antiquity and was
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very popularly imagined in the middle ages. the basic idea of the cosmos and the mate led-- late middle ages was something like this. there was a sphere. this idea that people before columbus thought the world was flat it is a myth that actually was largely created by washington irving in the 19th century. he wrote a biography of columbus and really sort of play that up because he was a good fiction writer as well. people knit the world was round and had known the world was round for centuries and even millennia. they imagine the earth was a sphere and moving at the center of the cosmos and it was at the center of the whole collection of concentric spheres, each of which had a celestial body attached to it so there was a sphere of the men, there was a sphere of the sun, there was a sphere of the planets and outside there was once feared that held all of the stars. thale rotated around the earth in their own way and that created the motions that you see
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in they have and when you look up. it wasn't a bad way of explaining that everything appeared to move if you assume that the earth just sat still. and that is what we are looking at here. you have got there that the center and a lot of the difference years of the elements and then the plan that's going out. you see this kind of diagram all the time in medieval texts. at the center, the earth itself is broken up into three parts. ager at the top, europe and africa underneath. this is a diagram you see a lot of the middle ages a specially, probably dates back to antiquity and usually called the t0 map for pretty obvious reasons. the o-- o is this fear of water that surrounds the known world which is the notion that if you think about it it's around europe, asia and africa as a contiguous land mass. the t and the middle of the circle represents bodies of water. the stemm of the t separating
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europe and africa and the mediterranean and the top parts of the t represent different rivers that were believed to separate africa from asia and europe from asia. so to map cecile lot of. no one was for attending this was an accurate picture geographically but it was a useful dichromatic way of conveying with the known world was. there were variations on the theme and this is one of them. it is a little hard to make sense of but the top circle is the standard to world. the part of the text on it is sasia and undenied you can see europe and africa and the circle around it is the ocean but then there is that semicircle underneath. that is a theoretical force-- fourth part of the world. this is a tenth century map. i'm not claiming this reflects any type of knowledge of the americas or any actual discoveries it is just here to make the point that there were plenty of people from hundreds
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of years prior to columbus who were theorizing about the distance of some kind of land across the ocean that possibly was inaccessible, possibly was uninhabited. venue, that maybe it was out there. it is a funny scheme of things but if you rotate it the world as we know what kind of comes into focus on the right-hand side in the east. now you look at asia, europe and africa in the middle and across what we call the atlantic now is a fourth part of the world, so given my book's title keep that in mind. that variation isn't one that you seem nearly as often as the standard model though. by the middle ages, christian geographers and christian thinkers had taken over this kind of map and for starting to use it for symbolic purposes and you see things like this. i love this little guy. this is christ crucified on top
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of a do map. the t that represented bodies of water is keeping the confidence apart is actually now the cross that is supposed to be bringing the whole world together. these maps are also used as a political symbol. this is the holy roman emperor frederick the first was in the standard european's of holding a club in a sector. the globes is broken into the form of a to map. you will see in the stained-glass sometimes little do maps. the symbolism here is pretty potent too. here's the european monarchs saying he aspires to extending his reach around the entire globe. so religious and political symbolism came together in the late middle ages in especially in the 1300's in a series of pretty lavation grand mathis of the world like this one other
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often called latin for maps of the world and they contain a lot of the elements we have already been talking about. the sergel here is basically a to map. if you strip away the detailed degree notion is the at the bottom separated by the green t thar europe on the left and africa on the right. if you look it the top of the map in particular, we have got a lot of that symbolism that we were just talking about. this is christ hovering above the world and the kind of divine in carry away. the message is clearly that only the divine figure who could look down at the earth and take the whole thing in sis all of yemen space and all of human time. the middle ages especially where not just limited to the geographical dimension. there were also supposed to convey an idea of time and of history and their references to history is in the middle ages
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being called maps and thees to e ages being called histories of the line between those two things was much fuzzier than it is now. this is the east because we are dealing with a to structure sevareid under christ is the rising sun, sticking out its tongue there and write under the sun ra two little adam and eve and that is the temporal dimension of this story. here's the beginning of human history and it is going to gradually march its way across the whole map. you can spend hours just talking about this kind of map and i'm not going to do it now, but once you know some of this he can make out a lot of the world as we know it now but it is a fuzzy, fuzzy picture. at the same time this map was made though another kind of map was coming into its own. sailors charts, and if you that spent time looking at medieval maps like this for while neca sailors start it is almost like
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you put glasses on. sadly thing snap into focus in you see the world a lot more as we know it today. this is not a sailors chart that sailors would it used. this is a very ornamental copy of a chart based on a sailor shirt given to making but i have chosen it because it's so clearly shows a lot of the characteristic features of sailors charts. their three main ones. these were charged that word used by sailors who want to make their way from italy to north africa over to the holy land, even sailing out a bit into the atlantic and especially up the eastern seaboard-- i am sorry, the western seaboard. the second trade of pollitt these maps is that criss-crossed with these lines radiating out from different circles, those are designed to help sailors plot their course from place to place. it seems obvious now with the compass at this point was a
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relatively new arrival in its allow people to sail over open water more than they had been able to prior. the third feature of this kind of map is that where the actual geographical information resides primarily is along the coast and you can see not too clearly in this image lots of place names that run perpendicularly to the coast in changed direction said the coast changes directions. that is what they were most interested, finding save harbors to sail into knowing what towns they could safely pass by, that kind of thing. you can get a better sense of what they were using it the look at one of the library of congress's own charge. this is a very early one. this is a lot more like what sailors may have been using. this is a picture of the mediterranean basin too. at cues zeroed in on italy in particular you can see these place names are pretty much defining the coastline and there's nothing in the interior.
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sailors did not care about what was in the interior. what i loved learning about in this particular context is that prior to the emergence of this kind of map the europeans didn't talk about italy as a boot. we all think of italy as a book now but in ancient times and well into the middle ages they described as an oak leaf. is only when these maps started emerging that you hear descriptions of it as a book. once people see europe as a boot they start to have people using that as a symbol. petrou mark who we tend to think of as a poet but was also a geographer has lines about saying italy and seeing it as a boot police to crush the greek. he did not like feaster christian so he is imagining this boot about to crush the people's to the east, not just the great questions but also the muslims. this is in the context of the crusades. so a new way of mapping the world will lead to new ideas about what your role in the
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world is and how you might take control of the world. that is the subtext of runs through a lot of this story. these were such obviously fun maps that they very quickly became maps that were just made for sailors and you get copies like this that were ornamental, rich powerful people would want to have copies of. the one big disadvantage of this kind of map though is that it does not count for the curvature of the earth. the mediterranean basin is a small part of the globe so it doesn't really matter these maps don't encounter the curvature of the earth but they are based on sightlines. they put that on their chart and when there were over there they look to the next point. the farther you do that the less accurate the whole picture is going to be. this kind of mouth, although people did try to map more and more of the world, was not a practically useful tool for
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navigating the over long expenses of ocean for example, but at the very time that this map was made, another kind of map was about to re-emerge in europe. these were the long lost maps of the ancient greek geographer and astronomer claudia ptolemy. ptolemy in the second century a.d. had written a book called the geography and in it he described how to map the world in the way that we usually think about the world being map today. the principle was pretty simple that ptolemy lidell. you would determine your latitude and longitude and then he taught readers how to construct the mathematical grids that would account for the curvature of the earth and allow you to take a round ball and spread it out and make it into a flat map. you would first take your bearings in the heavens
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particularly the polestar and determine your latitude. then you take distance measurements and some celestial measurements and figure out what your longitude might be, longitude of course was notoriously hard to figure out but you could make estimates. winds to have that information, you take your line of latitude and longitude and create a point that you could say is a city for example. once you had your points he would pop them onto one of ptolemy's grit. this is ptolemy's first. 12 hatted points the new method could start assembling a picture of the whole world. ptolemy recorded 8,000 geographic accord nitzan the geography. his book, the book was lost not long after he died probably, at least to europe and it was about 1,000 years before was rediscovered. when it was rediscovered there were no maps. ptolemy probably made maps with the original and we don't know
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but even if he did they are all lost. it didn't matter though because when the book was rediscovered scholars to read the buckhead 8,000 geographical court nets zenit and instructions on how to make map projections so all they had to do was construct a projection, the plot of the points come connect all the dots, and and you get this kind of picture of the world. this is a typical ptolemy map of the world. these are very popular in the 15th century and what we are looking at here where, northern africa, the middle east, central asia here and moving towards china, said 13-- favor before that. you can next under the indian ocean to africa and that is very significant because it means the indian ocean is a close body of water and from the european perspective that is depressing because you can sail from spain
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for example a round africa and into the indian ocean. gold then spices were traveling from the far east overland through muslim occupied territories to europe. europeans were keen to eliminate the middleman in the idea of sailing into the indian ocean was an appealing one. this map suggested can do that. but ptolemy wasn't saying in these maps that he was showing the whole world. he was issuing the world as he knew it and he encouraged his readers to explore the world more fully into update his maps and that is what europeans after they had discovered ptolemy had begun in the age of discovery really started to do in earnest. they revisited a lot of a constructed a hypothetical vision of the far east. they also barry said that the began sailing south along the west coast of africa and in 1489
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made it all the way to the southern tip. that raised hopes that they could sail into the indian ocean and that is why we have the cape of good hope. it all of a sudden seen it might be possible to bypass the middleman to not go overland through hostile territory and establish direct trade relations with the far east. the portuguese reece the cape of good hope in 1490 and not long after that you start to see maps like this one, which is a little hard to see. it is not a very well-preserved copy but this is a very important map to look at. this map at its core is a sort of standard ptolemy vision of the world but it is expanded in the ferraris to include this kind of hypothetical geography based on the travels of marco polo and some others. for the first time in the far east to conceal a depiction of japan which marco polo described in some length. you have got this weird cellport extending potential that is some
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kind-- sometimes called the dragon's till. the indian ocean is open, coming from the stories but also coming around africa on the other side and here we have got the frame of the math. this is a very important discovery. you can see it might be possible to sail to africa into the indian ocean and over to the far east. that said, this map was made in 1490 or so which is at the time columbus was on the verge of making his voyage and you can see what gave columbus the idea he had. the idea of sailing around africa all the way south like this in this continent is, the latin tabal extent of this continent is exaggerated. suggesting it is a harder bush, but to sail from europe all the way over here all the way down under here in the uncertain territory all across the indian ocean and all the way over to
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the far east was daunting to say the least. on the other hand there is only about 90 degrees of ocean implied in the back of this map and columbus sitting there thinking i could go all the way around africa or sale of around the back of the map. he starts to think that this might actually be possible. and when he did it, he thought he had pretty much confirm to the vision of geography that you see on this map. the sale probably about 90 degrees and bump into some big islands, cuba, haiti and some smaller other islands, the bahamas and eventually bump into a big evidently continent, south america but as he was bumping into those silence in that continent, so it is easy to make fun of him to think he could be reached the indies but it was a logical conclusion to come to. he convinced himself that he was in the far east in the indies
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which is why we have the indians, and he spent most of his time in the caribbean. he didn't go that far south but when his contemporaries, amerigo vespucci did and amerigo vespucci's portrait is at the top of the map to map. amerigo vespucci made voyages across the planet to the caribbean to the region columbus visited but then he sailed especially on one bush very favor self, and entered an area like i said earlier that nobody really had put mid-continent on before. thousands of miles below the equator where most people had assumed there was only water. amerigo vespucci repeatedly in his letters talks about this giant new plays as asian land. it wasn't that he decided he reached a new continent. people often think that was what he was announcing to the world but he clearly makes reference to it as asia. he talks about wanting to find a way around the tip of that landed reach the indian ocean.
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he thought he was on the verge of doing that but he still far enough south along this continent that he decided this was an entirely new part of asia that europeans have not visited before and wrote letters home making that point. one of those letters was published under the title of new world. that phrase today what apply pretty uniquely to the americas, but at the time europeans were calling newly discovered parts of africa and new world, a newly discovered parts of asia new world so amerigo vespucci's calling what we know as south america doesn't mean he recognized it was a new continent. what amerigo vespucci came back with was not only verbal descriptions of this new world but also charge that looked a lot like this one. a number of early sailors charts of the new world survived. this was one of the earliest and what it showed again is this
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dominant southern land mass. up here is north america, the islands of the caribbean again and hear the coastline of what we now know as south america. it is really a whole thing kind of monster. what is very significant is to conceive of the continent is clearly only explorative to a certain point and it is left implied that there was probably more of it but already extends farther south than the tip of africa so this is a giant, a strange place. this kind of mouth and letters of vespucci began circulating in europe. vespucci very quickly became a celebrity explore and was much more famous than columbus. vespucci was saying here is something that is pretty new. at least one chart this and letters of vespucci made it in
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the early 1300's to a little town in the mountains of eastern france, not far from strasbourg on the border of germany, and in there were these scholars who with the time were working on maps of ptolemy and they decided for reasons that remain obscure that what vespucci exporting described was not part of asia but was, corresponded to this hypothetical fourth part of the world that people speculated about. they therefore decided they would expand their maps to produce a map of the whole world that included this new place and that they would name it after vespucci and pollitt america. i went when i was doing the book. the town itself is interesting and modern but just outside of their the countryside is like this and it is fun to think of others in this context, far away from spain and portugal were all of the excitement of discovery is happening in these quiet
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hills putting together the first picture of the world as we know it. this is from a mountaintop, and my own and provable theory is that his colleagues probably hiked up to these mountains into in the views. they had a kind of long view and i think it is hard not to feel that this kind of vista would appeal to them. we know their story because when they decided to make their big map they decided to publish a book that was a companion volume to the map. the call that the introduction to cosmography. much of the book was a standard recitation of what the cosmos was like, how to do geography and how to do geography, geometry but at the end of the book after they describe the three no parts of the world they announced the discovery of the fourth part of the world. it is worth quoting, these parts they say referring back to europe and africa and asia have
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in fact now been more widely explored and the fourth part has been discovered by vespucci. i do not see why anyone should rightly prevent this new part from being called america. there's the record of how america got its name. this book those just a companion to the map itself, and now for the last couple of minutes what i thought i would do is zero in on different parts of the map and show you how waldseemuller map brought together a lot of pieces we have been talking about on the show up to here. if you look at the center of the map and compare to ptolemy you will see they are very similar. you can zero in on the sent-- central parts in seed is a tall macworld. the place names for the most part are ancient place names. waldseemuller map in north africa did look like that in parts of europe didn't look like that but he wanted to stay true to ptolemy for all sorts of reasons and again it is worth
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thinking this map of not just a map of space but of time. this is a way of looking back at the ancient world as well as looking at the modern world which is very useful in the early renaissance when people are starting to learn more and more about what the ancients had written. it is going to be more useful to know age in place names if you are studying homer or virgil that it is to know modern placements of that was very important. but it is an expanded version of the ptolemy map bin borrows from a map a lot like the one on the right. you can see if you zero in on the far east especially the depiction of japan and the coast of china and india is very similar. it is not to say it is a direct borrowing from this one particular map but there is a clear and obvious similarity here. when it came to africa, waldseemuller map turned to sailors charts, probably like this one and if you look at the coast of africa in particular
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you can see that although waldseemuller map was making a ptolemy map and a lot of ways when it comes to the western and southern parts of the african coast luedke is doing it in the style of charts. he is that all of these plays games that run across the coast. when it came to the new world waldseemuller map ob is the only had sailors charge to rely on so debarred from acts like this. these two depictions don't look that alike at first glance but you have to keep in mind that the waldseemuller map map is a map production so it is more often distorted. if you zero and let's say on north america and put it side-by-side with north america you see on that map and you rotate waldseemuller map you can see how close the correspondence is. in the introduction to cosmography waldseemuller map talks about using the maps. there is more though too.
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remember this map is a universal cosmography and that calls to mind these kind of medieval conditions of the world as a whole. with the difference being that in the new aegis, usually what you find are these divine figures hovering above the world. they are the only ones who can really take in everything, all of time, all of space and see where everything is headed. i am convinced that waldseemuller map was fully aware of this kind of image and was riffing on it in his map. if you look to the top of the map what you see are ptolemy on the left and vespucci on the right. there gazing down at the world as a whole, something nobody had seen before but the message is one that is very much one of the renaissance. it is that we humans can do it. ptolemy is on the left. he is epitomizing the learning of the agents which is being resuscitated.
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he is looking at the half world that hemap. vespucci-- he is looking at the new world and buy new world in this context it is not just north and south america. it is all of these parts of asia that ptolemy had knot. together they are presenting a vision of the world as a whole. and, the achievement was kind of remarkable. it was the stitching together of all sorts of different kinds of the maps. you have got the basic idea of a three part world. you have got that three per world mapped in the way that ptolemy had mapped it. you lagat this kind of symbolic overlayed, the idea of looking down at the whole thing. you have got this expanded world of ptolemy in the east into the south reflect the modern discoveries. you have got africa and the americas mapped according to what is on the most recent sailor charts and then you have
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this general idea of a kind of hypothetical fourth part of the world and what waldseemuller map and his colleagues did was stitched together into this really, really cool map. so, thank you very much. [applause] >> i have often wondered why vespucci is on the right, overlooking the old world and we have the other side were ptolemy is overlooking part. in other words were they superimposed at the top? >> i'm not sure i understand. >> why wouldn't he put ptolemy oprah on the right hand side to correspond with what is down in his part of the world and then move waldseemuller map over so
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he is over in the americas. >> vespucci is overlooking the americas on the right side. i would guess that ptolemy is on the left looking over that way because everybody familiar with this kind of map would have been familiar with matz that began on the left with europe and africa. our idea now that the world is on the left is a different way of doing it. one of waldseemuller map's, ringmann at one point talks about looking down at the world and saying this new place on the right and for a while i couldn't figure out what he was talking about but, if you would imagine this is the beginning of the world, the new world was actually way over there on the right. >> that is really interesting. >> i've read that ptolemy and his predecessors thought the land masses had to be balanced along the equator and the
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southern continent. the map certainly well after this would make a seven continent down there. why were they tempted if they only have the east coast, to assume that was attached to some massive land mass? >> i don't know. there are plenty of maps that have a totally speculative southern land mass down there. it may have been simply that this looked good the way it was. i just don't know. this corresponds if you look back at the sailors church that they were borrowing from it is pretty much this so it may have been there were just adhering to the model that they had been they weren't trying to add a whole lot to it but i don't know that anybody could really say for sure. >> adding to that, i know it is questionable that this map was made in 1507 because the existence of the pacific was not known at that time.
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is pretty remarkable on the west coast of south america-- that is not too far frets from reality. do we know what waldseemuller map based his ideas upon when he drew the west coast of the americas? >> there are lots of speculations. if we can go back for a minute to this chart. sorry about this. waldseemuller map was borrowing from a map that was a lot like this one. probably not this one, but what he did is not unlike this. you have got this continent that ben tiered, dell mic this. this mapmaker was not saying that there was ocean here. the sailors had only map this part of the close so they had to do something on the side so they put some trees-- [laughter] it may be that they just follow
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this general modeled. we have got a nice little been here where sd it would look a le what waldseemuller map did, so maybe doing nothing more than following this. on waldseemuller map's selva america aqc he has got typography. up ten-year you got straight lines with this corresponds to this too. now i have to do all they-- i had a little too much fun doing these transitions. so, appeared, you have got straight lines labeled the noland and down here there is an artist's fanciful recreations of mountains and things which some people believe reflects knowledge of the andes. it is possible to say that they saw a chart like the one and he was looking at in the artist a sort of did something similar.
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>> can you help me out with the-- i thought the longitude was being determined until later. how did they get longitude? >> they got it wrong. they didn't do a very good job of it, and they could-- and people like columbus were very, very good at coming up with a garav distance, longitudinal distance sailed over open water. a lot better than we give him credit for now but it doesn't mean they were that accurate. [inaudible] >> no, because in order to do that you had to have a clock on board and the whole longitude story and you could not have an accurate clock on board. vespucci at one point, either vespucci or someone who doctored vespucci's letters claimed to have been able to figure out
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longitude by doing complicated celestial observations. most people think he probably didn't or either he was making it up for someone made it up in his name to make his letters even more sensational than they were. >> since these folks were working in a very small town is there any indication where they got there and information, what maps were available to them when they actually drew this? was the map available to them? >> the county nematt in particular was in italy not that far away and ringmann who was waldseemuller map's colleague travel to italy a couple of times. it is not impossible he made his way to where the map was, but there others circulating as well and the duke of lorraine, renee, is said to have received maps
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from portugal. it is very hard to unpack those stories and know what is what but there were lots of dukes in europe who had agents on the lead. peninsula who were very interested in getting maps and they wanted as much new information as they could because this was a business opportunity so these maps were making their way to italy, and somehow or another a copy or more made it to sandy yea. even though it is out of the way it was a crossroads. strasbourg was the nexus of all sorts of information. >> could you say a little bit about how it took so long to get to the library of congress? >> sure. that is also a great part of the story. thank you. he is my agent. the map, supposedly there were 1,000 copies printed. they very quickly disappeared.
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luckily one survived because it was bound into a book and the book, the book turns out to be one of the best ways of balta preserve paper and this book ended up sitting in the library in the south of germany for a couple hundred years pretty much ignored and forgotten and then in 1901 it just would priest named father fisher went to do some research at the castle looking for something else and stumbled across this map and he was a well-informed it up younger for and particularly interested in the early discoveries of the americas and was able to recognize that this must be the baltimore map. within a year there were headlines in "the new york times" saying this map, the long-lost map thought to be lost that has been found again. then we had world war i, world war ii, relationships between the u.s. and germany were not that good and the map stayed in germany. and, the staff of the library of
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congress can tell you better the actual blow by blow of how the map ultimately came back here. i believe it started in the late '80s are the early '90s and maybe somebody can help me out. there were long complicated negotiations, a member of the library of congress that named margaret who was instrumental in negotiating the map. finally they arrived at a price and i think in 2001 they agreed and in 2003 it was finally purchase, so. >> we are running out of time and i note toby is here also to sign his book. first, just to clarify slightly, he is absolutely right on how came here, but perhaps a little bit more complicated but i do want to indicate one thing and that is that the portfolio in which the item appeared is also here in the library of congress.
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when we acquired the original 1507 map, the prince sold the to the separably as it would be out of the portfolio to so the whole world of cartographic scholarship was furious that this would take place so a gentlemen by the name of jay was brought into the discussion. he acquired the rest of the portfolio. and at the time, we would negotiate with him over his collection of materials and mine as tech materials to come to the library of congress that we had a great, of mines together at that particular time, so jay purchase the other piece. it is also here at the library of congress. if you go to the jefferson congress to consider not only that the teeniest 07 map a copy of the card a marina and also the portfolio in front of you so we are very happy that we did not lose this historical objects and it is now here hopefully to
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be studied and to be worked on. as toby has done, peter has done and john hasler has done and a number of other people, we think even more work is yet to be done on this wonderful piece but before i say anything more, let's congratulate toby on the tremendously impressive presentation. [applause] and sense this is an office session, toby is outside helping you acquire-- thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> the fidgetiness seven waldseemuller map map of the world is on display at the library of congress and the jefferson building. for more information visit

Book TV
CSPAN January 1, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

Toby Lester Education. (2010) Toby Lester ('The Fourth Part of the World').

TOPIC FREQUENCY Europe 20, Africa 14, Asia 9, America 8, Italy 8, Columbus 5, China 4, North America 4, Boston 3, Washington 3, Baltimore 3, John Hasler 2, Portugal 2, Amerigo Vespucci 2, John 2, Indies 2, Waldseemuller 2, Strasbourg 2, North Africa 2, Germany 2
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